Museum curator Robin Grinling, in her new position in the small Danford museum, prepares to exhibit a collection of long-hidden still life paintings recently inherited by young deb Slinky Chase. When Slinky is murdered, Robin suspects something in the innocent-seeming paintings is the cause. But Slinky isn't the only one to die. As Robin uses her research skills to interpret the paintings, she finds clues in the still lifes suggesting the paintings tell deadly secrets about the wealthiest old families in this aging Massachusetts milltown. She identifies the artists and exposes stories of intrigue, passion and betrayal hidden in the paintings. Now, she is in danger. To save herself, she must reveal the killer.
Michal Sherring is the pseudonym of retired art historian Joan Mickelson who spent three decades in the museum profession holding positions from museum assistant to curator to director. (The Biblical David's first wife was named Michal, in case you wondered.) Friends suggested she write a museum mystery since she loves traditional mysteries in the puzzle-solving format. The idea for DONE FOR AT THE DANFORD came to her as she was walking through an exhibition of still life paintings. Although a native Floridian, Michal loves to travel to very cold places, especially the Norwegian/Swedish Arctic.
Ingenious twists, hidden pasts are skillfully woven together with art appreciation. The setting is in 1965 but the readers journey covers the pre-WWI art scene. Aside for the murder mystery surprises I was left with a feeling that I had walked the hallways of the Danford museum with curator Robin Grinling, The characters are multidimensional and believable. The story allows the reader to feel connected to some of the characters through their art as much as their actions. There is much that I liked about this book. The characters are presented in a way that one can easily visualize them, the knowledgeable tidbits on the work of a curator and other aspects of art add a dimension of learning as one is being entertained that I love in historical mysteries. Be prepared to be surprised. Done For At The Danford will make all mystery lovers happy. I bought my paperback copy from Murder On The Beach Mystery Book Store in Delray Beach Florida